HAPPY READING MONTH! March is Reading Month celebrates the joy of reading while bringing new worlds—real and imagined—to life and allows us to highlight our educators and all those who have gone above and beyond in such unprecedented times. My staff and I are working around the clock to address constituent needs, introduce legislation and meet with stakeholders to create solutions and solve problems.
For those who joined my Facebook Live Community Conversation in February, you may recall our discussion on the budget timeline and what the next steps will look like. As of now, Michigan’s budget process is underway in both the House and the Senate Appropriations committees where my Democratic Colleagues and I are fighting hard for relief money for our schools, businesses and communities without leaving any federal dollars behind. Don’t miss my next update and be sure to check out my other events in the upcoming week. See below for details!
As your representative, I am most effective when acting on your input. I encourage you to reach out to me and my staff with any concerns, questions or comments you may have for in-district or legislative topics that will impact our community and state. You can contact me at (517) 373-0857, by email at MaryCavanagh@house.mi.gov or visiting my website.
House District 10 (Redford Twp & NW Detroit)
In this Edition:
UIA Town Hall
Filing unemployment claims during these unprecedented times can be frustrating and time consuming, as many Michiganders are still trying to access the relief they need. That is why I am hosting a Virtual Unemployment Town Hall, with special guests including my fellow Detroit-area legislators and a representative from the Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity to discuss the current situation and resources for those struggling. Bring your questions and we look forward to connecting!
When: Friday, March 26, from 3-4:30 p.m.
How: Pre-registration is required, please sign-up by clicking here.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Please join me at my next Community Conversation event for an opportunity to have a chat, ask me questions, and share how I can best represent you in Lansing.
When: Friday, March 19, from 6-7 p.m.
How: Join via Zoom or Facebook Live. You can register here.
Every month I host these Community Conversations, so please save-the-date for the 3rd Friday of the month to check-in with me about what is going on in Lansing. You can also ‘like’ my Facebook page (@RepMaryCavanagh) to stay updated.
COVID-19 Supplemental Bills
Last week, the House voted to pass COVID-19 supplemental appropriations that will provide funding for our schools, vaccinations, testing, food assistance, emergency rental assistance and other needs. While these bills appropriate more money than the previous versions passed by the Senate, I voted ‘No’ on both HB 4048 and 4049, but voted ‘Yes’ on HB 4047. I voted no because this legislation failed to appropriate every dollar that has already been made available to us by the Federal government. Why would we leave over $2 billion on the table when we could vote to use it all?
Additionally, some of the funding in these bills were made contingent on limiting the authority of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to respond appropriately to future public health crises. Money we have at our fingertips for our families, children and small businesses shouldn’t have strings attached. There is absolutely no reason to be leaving a single dollar on the table when our communities desperately need these funds.
One point is absolutely clear—we should never play politics with our children’s future and wellbeing. I will always fight for our community and will work hard to bring every dollar home.
These bills are far from perfect, but in the end I know that our residents, businesses and schools need relief now. I am eager to make progress on helping the state move forward past this pandemic. So while I am glad the Legislature has made some progress with the passing of these bills to get money in the hands of Michiganders, my NO vote on these bills will serve as a reminder of every dollar that is being left on the table. I will not stop working to ensure all our tax dollars make it home to our communities who need it.
The Hardworking Michiganders Recovery Plan
On February 25, I introduced House Bill 4339 as part of House Democrats’ Hardworking Michiganders Recovery Plan, which will provide immediate relief for Michigan residents and help ensure no worker is left behind during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, my bill would reinstate eligibility for seasonal employees to collect unemployment benefits during the off-season. Other specifics of the bill package include:
I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to bring this package up for a vote and provide much-needed relief to workers during the ongoing pandemic.
House Bipartisan Health Care Plan
Last month, a bipartisan group of representatives unveiled a plan designed to improve the quality of health care in Michigan, while making it more accessible and affordable. The proposed legislation would:
These needed reforms are long past due, and I am happy to see the bipartisan effort to advance them.
It has been a BIG week for the vaccination process! Governor Whitmer recently announced that those aged 50 and older with medical conditions or disabilities and caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs can now receive the vaccine. Starting March 22, all residents aged 50 and older will be eligible.
At this time, the best place to find information on the COVID-19 vaccine is still with our local health department. The Wayne County Health Department COVID-19 webpage provides comprehensive details regarding vaccine information, registration and immunization sites.
We know that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has seen its challenges, but our state is making progress in getting shots in arms. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that 45% of people aged 65-74 have at least one dose, with 49% of those 75 or older having at least one dose. For those aged 50 to 64, 13% have received at least one dose.
As many of you have likely heard, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved, and just days ago, President Biden announced they will have enough vaccines for every American by the end of May—up from the original timeline of the end of July. As weekly supplies to our state increase and we vaccinate more Michiganders, eligibility will also expand. Please be patient, it will take time to get vaccines to everyone, but will be worth it to build a healthier, safer future for our state.
This past week, Michigan administered approximately 500,000 vaccinations; roughly 410,000 of Pfizer and Moderna, and roughly 85,000 Johnson & Johnson. Our state is continuing to make tremendous strides in receiving and administering vaccinations. We are in continual conversations advocating for more doses to Western Wayne County, as well.
Please continue to exercise all social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) until guidance is updated. Please be patient; it will take time to get shots to all. While you wait, keep our community safe and healthy by:
For statewide vaccine distribution information, visit the State of Michigan COVID-19 Vaccine website.
City of Detroit Vaccine Information
Detroit is kicking off its new Good Neighbor Program which allows any area resident age 55 or older to be vaccinated at the TCF Center or any Senior Saturday location if they schedule an appointment with a Detroiter age 60+ and drive them to their appointment.
In addition, manufacturing workers that live or work in Detroit have recently been added to the list for eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine at the TCF center.
COVID-19 vaccines are available BY APPOINTMENT ONLY for Detroiters 60+ at more locations in the Detroit community. Call (313) 230-0505 Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. to schedule. The locations listed below are participating in Senior Saturdays:
March 6, 13, 20 & 27, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
March 6, 13 & 20, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Redford Vaccine Information
Redford Township is committed to getting information regarding COVID vaccinations to residents as it becomes available. At this time, the Township will be compiling a list of seniors ages 65 and older that will be contacted as more information on COVID sites and vaccinations becomes available for our community. If you are interested in being placed on the call list, please contact the Leisure Services Department at (313) 387-2650 with your name and phone number. All names will be placed on the list in the order they are received.
MDHHS Epidemic Orders
On March 2, Director Hertel of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services signed two epidemic orders updating the current restrictions on gathering limits and nursing home visitations. These orders went into effect on March 5, and run until April 19. Details for each order can be found below.
For more information on this epidemic order, click here for a full list of social gathering guidance updates.
We are making progress against COVID-19 because of the work each and every one of you continue to do, by social distancing and masking up—thank you for doing your part. Let’s continue to follow these safety precautions so our state can move forward!
A new program through UIA has begun, allowing eligible Michiganders who earned a combination of traditional and self-employment income to begin applying for the new Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program.
MEUC provides an additional $100 per week in supplemental benefits (in addition to the $300 PUC payments) to individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits who received at least $5,000 of self-employment income in the most recent taxable year prior to the UI application. Individuals who receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are ineligible for MEUC benefits.
If you find that you are in need of assistance with your unemployment claim, you can contact my office by using this form.
Local Food Distributions
If you are in need or know someone else who might be, the following places have reoccurring food distribution events:
Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting a tribute to honor Janet Rencsok, an early childhood special education teacher at McGowan Elementary. Congrats on being HD 10’s first March Reading Month educator highlight! From making sure families have enough food and working with student schedules to using recycled materials for science projects, Janet has gone above and beyond for her students and all of Redford Union. It was a pleasure to meet Janet and her pre-school crew on such a beautiful day. Keep up the smiles and amazing work, you are creating leaders and saving our children’s lives every day!
Throughout the duration of March Reading Month, I am looking for your help to recognize our local teachers that have faced the challenges of the pandemic head-on while adapting to keep our students on track. Please nominate a local teacher and our office will provide a special tribute to the person selected. Click here to complete the nomination form.
I Want to Hear From You!
During this challenging time, it is more important than ever to stay in touch. I want to hear from you. What do you need? How can we help you? My office is here to assist you or answer any questions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at MaryCavanagh@house.mi.gov.
You can also stay up to date about what’s going on in Lansing and find community events by following me on social media; ‘like’ my Facebook page here.
I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can ever be of any assistance.